Home resolutions (easy) to make you love your space (a lot)

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• January 3, 2015

Stage your coffee table and make it the focal point of the room. Photo: Pottery Barn.

The houseguests have departed. The decorations are packed up (well, most of them). Home sweet home may be looking a little sad without the twinkly lights.  And while it's nice to have all of the space back, it may be looking a little drab. Maybe time for a refreshening. Not a total redo. A few tweaks for positive changes that make you feel good about your home.

Stage a coffee table and make it the focal point of the room. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Welcome 2015! Each year, I forgo the impossible, guilt inducing resolutions that are broken before my Christmas tree is picked up by the recycling truck. Instead, I come up with a list of resolutions for the home.

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I help my clients make major changes in their homes with new color choices. Giving old furnishings a new look with beautiful upholstery. Purchasing a new accent piece or rug. Changing accessories, artwork, lighting.  Giving an outdated bathroom a spa look. Deciding if now is the time for a room renovation.  Pick just one of these for your home interior resolution in 2015 and you will have a major change.

Design a gallery wall for your entry. Photo: Pottery Barn.

My resolutions are designed to be stress-free. Isn't that what we want for the New Year? Some you can do when you finish reading this column. Others will require a little thinking and planning. Whatever you select, happy decorating. I wish you a spectacular home in 2015!

•    Love everything in your home. If not, get rid of it. Open the space for something new. Just because you have had it forever doesn't mean it is still working for you. Donate it and let someone else love it.

•    Declutter. The New Year is the time. Be brave. A lot of our "stuff" has past emotional attachments. Let it go and love the extra space and calm that results.

•    Open the windows and breathe. Seriously, those windows do open! Let the toxins out (as well as the holiday smells)  and enjoy the fresh air. In southwest Florida where we run the air conditioning nonstop, this is important. Do it now!

•    Make your outdoor space more livable. Whether it is a tiny balcony or a spacious lanai with a pool, make it part of your living space. Furniture, lighting, artwork, a rug to pull it all together. Increases your space and gives you a reason to enjoy the outdoors this time of year.

•    Be realistic and don't believe everything you see on TV. If you have worked endlessly on your home and have everything you want but something is still not quite right, it may be time to call in a professional to help you rethink your space. The home shows are just that: shows. They make it look easy and inexpensive.  It's neither. Remember this is television and what looks great may not always be practical in real life.

•    Bring some new color into your home. Whether it's a new palette for the walls or a new color scheme for accessories, this is the most impactful change you can make. Visually and emotionally, it changes everything.  And for the money, it's the best value.

Add new color and give an old piece a new look for 2015. Photo: Kravet.

•    Exercise restraint. Before you blast out the door to start making purchases, stop and make a plan. Think about how you want your home to feel and what you can do to get there. Avoid mistakes.

•    Check out your lighting. One of the biggest mistakes I see in homes is lack of or incorrect lighting. And this is relatively easy to fix. We need task (work), ambient (overall) and accent (on a particular object or part of the room). Sometimes all you need to do is increase the light bulb strength!

•    Add a gallery wall. Pull your artwork or photos together on one wall for a museum or art gallery look. Go with a dark color as a backdrop. Short on space? An entry is a great place to do this.  

•    Stage your coffee table.  You likely have everything you need! A pretty tray,  favorite books, accessories, flowers. Gorgeous!

•    Tidy up the laundry room. Paint it a color that you love but are afraid to use in any otter room. Add a piece of art. Reorganize and declutter. You may enjoy doing the laundry!

•    Always go for timeless over trendy. Will you love it in five years? Buy it. And buy the best you can afford with major items like your sofa.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Related posts:

Resolutions for a happy new year

Fill home sweet home with happiness

Home Inspirations: Simple touches transition home from summer to fall

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• October 4, 2014

Pottery Barn's outdoor, fall pillows.

Pottery Barn's outdoor, fall pillows.

As I write this column, fall is not in the air. Yet.

While most of the country is hanging on to those last warm days of summer, in southwest Florida we are anxiously awaiting a cool morning breeze, an evening that makes us look through our closet for a jacket and any sign that fall is on its way.

It will appear soon. Amy minute. Perhaps even this weekend, when a cold front is predicted.

And while our northern neighbors are covering the pool and bringing in the patio furniture, we are looking forward to heading outdoors after a long summer of air conditioning! And it only takes a few news reports of snow storms to realize again, how lucky we are to live in a tropical paradise.

But until then, we dream of fall.  

And there is something about the change in seasons that makes us want to make a change. In fashion and in our homes. We want to mark the change in seasons, no matter how subtle.

West Elm's reclaimed pine library storage.

Add a new accent piece from fall flea markets or this West Elm reclaimed pine librarian storage inspired by library card catalogs. Photo: West Elm. So as the days become shorter and we are all counting down fall's arrival,  we look at our homes and make small changes to mark the coming season. As a Fort Myers interior decorator, some of my favorites include:

•    Start with a good decluttering. Then go to your closet, bring the long sleeves and jackets and boots to the front. In the pantry, clean out all of the old spices and make room for the new as we get ready for the coming holidays.

Pottery Barn's flora and fauna trays in neutral tones.

Pottery Barn's flora and fauna trays in neutral tones.

•    Make a slight change of colors in your decorating with yellows, browns and orange tones.  Pillows, throws,  accessories. Mother nature's colors...you can't go wrong.

•   Flora and fauna trays in neutral tones are a great accessory for counters, dressers and they are perfect for holding all of those remotes!

•    Visit fall art shows and invest in a new piece of art or accent piece.

•    Search fall flea markets and find a new treasure for an accent piece.

•    With shorter days, now is a good time to take a look at your lighting and perhaps add a new lamp or two.

•    Change your scents to fall. Some of my favorites are the highly scented candles from Candleberry Candles and include: Copper Leaves ad Mulled Cider. www.candleberry.com.

West Elm's plush cotton bath mat.

West Elm's plush cotton bath mat.

•    The change in seasons is a perfect time to invest in new linens, towels, throws, blankets.

•    Give bath a new look with this color block, stripe bath mat of plush yarn-dyed cotton. Photo: West Elm.

•    Freshen up a room or outdoor space by adding a new rug. Some of my favorites are from Dash & Albert.  www.dashandalbert.com.

•     Change your fireplace mantel or tablescape with creamy neutrals accented with seasonal tones, gourds, pumpkins, leaves, baskets, accents.

Tip: I pick these up from Home Goods for my clients.

West Elm's metallic bowl filled with apples.

West Elm's metallic bowl filled with apples.

•    As you spend more time outdoors, add some new pillows and throw (for chilly nights) to your chairs.  

•    Start at the front door with mums, a new welcome mat, wreath and pumpkins (Tip: spray paint the pumpkins to reflect your color scheme). Fun!

•    On the first cool morning: open all of the windows and let the fresh air into your home.

Welcome fall!  It's been a long, hot summer!

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Home Inspirations: Window treatments define a room's style

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• October 5, 2013

From Ballard Designs: Drapes hung just below molding give this beautiful room a balanced look.

Every designer knows that from the fabric to the hardware, window treatments define the style of a room.

Drapes provide impact through the use of color, pattern, texture and decorative details. And when hung right, they give the illusion of height in a room. They can visually widen a window, letting in lots of light.

And yet, window treatments are the most confusing component of interior decor to homeowners. We dress up a window for various reasons: privacy, to block sunlight, to disguise a not so pretty window and to add fabric and color to a room to make it interesting.  And if you don’t need window treatments for any of these reasons, you may wish to think about leaving the windows bare, especially if your window is architecturally beautiful or if you have a view that should be unblocked. 

It is a good idea to live in the room for a while to decide what works best for your lifestyle. Because there is a financial commitment, you don’t want to make a mistake. And there are lots of choices. From shutters to shades to panels to full drapes. Not an expert? No problem. Here are a few tips that I use for my southwest Florida clients who want to incorporate fabric into their space with draperies.

Still need a puddle? Try this mini puddle from Pottery Barn.

Puddling or not?

For the most part, I say, not. Oh, sure, the yards and yards of fabric gathered on the floor in a prefect arrangement are gorgeous. And if they are being done for a photo, they are great. But that is the problem. Like the big wedding dress that gathers at the bottom, it only works in photos. If you vacuum or open and close your puddled drapes, they are not for you.  One the other hand, if you have a large room (like a ballroom with lots of space) and someone to constantly rearrange and dust them, they may work. But on a day to day basis for most of us, they are just too formal and need lots of floor space to do the look justice. The theatrical look works for some (large) spaces and certainly adds drama to a room. But remember that big wedding dress.

Still not convinced? Okay. If you must have a puddle or a mini puddle, hang your silk or faux silk drapes all the way to the floor with a break to get the effect. But not a full puddle. Two or threeinches.

Hang them high!

Don't do that (left)! Do this (right)!

This rule works every time. To give a room height and an elegant look, hang them high. From just below the crown molding or ceiling. And this applies to any window in your main living space. Indoor/outdoor fabric is a great way to go for cleaning and dusting.

Drapery panels

If you have a shade, panels or shutter over the window and really don’t need a full drape to block light or to provide privacy, this is the way to go. It’s a very elegant look and will save some money. Pick out a beautiful fabric or readymade panel with some fullness to it. Select decorative hardware and ties, if needed, and make sure to give the panels some width to make the window look larger and as always, hang from the ceiling or just below molding.

Toppings, cornices, valances

Depending upon your window, this may be the perfect accent. These work with shades, shutters and panels. Just the decorative element to add some style to the room. Whether they work as an accent or to cover up unsightly tracks and rods, they work in combination with other treatments. Southwest Florida clients like them with shutters and blinds because they soften the hard look of wooden window coverings. They also visually raise the height of a window.

And whether it is a beautiful view or exotic fabric, we all want beautiful windows.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Stuck in your kitchen? Tips for a makeover!

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• August 3, 2013

Kitchen painted in Benjamin Moore neutrals.

Kitchen painted in Benjamin Moore neutrals.

Just one look through House Beautiful or Coastal Living and you will start thinking about redoing your kitchen.

It is the hub of activity, the heart of your home. And if you every plan to sell, you will find thatitis the most important room in the house.

But often the most expensive redo in your home, it may be out of the question. Or not!

Okay, so ripping out the walls and “opening up the room (as all of the home shows say)” is pricey and maybe not currently in your budget. What is a homeowner to do? We all want a beautiful kitchen. Right? Here are a few tips that will give you a quick kitchen update without spending a fortune.

But first, some things to consider.

Do your homework. Have a plan. This may be a good time to call in a designer. You may think that you can't afford this step but if you are on a budget, a two hour consultation will help you make some decisions and decide where best to put your money.

Determine your look before you begin to shop around. Are you just looking to refresh your kitchen or are you ready to make major changes? Are you overwhelmed about what to do and how to get the most bang for your money? Do you want painted cabinets or wood stained? What type of flooring? Countertops and what kind if any, backsplash?

Okay. So let's begin with a few tips that will make a BIG difference if you are on a budget or need to sparkle it up for resale.

#4 Kitchen cabinets.JPG

For space above cabinets: create a pretty vignette of pottery and artwork. • Change the color. This will give you the most for your money. If the space is small, keep everything in a neutral palette.  If your space is huge, give it a warm, personal feel.

• Declutter! Take everything out of each cabinet and drawer and clean thoroughly. Put back only what you need and use. This will make you feel like you have a new kitchen!

• Change the cabinet hardware. Big impact for a moderate price. Favorite sources: Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, Home Depot.

     Pottery Barn Blacksmith Pot Rack.

     Pottery Barn Blacksmith Pot Rack.

Photo: Blacksmith pot rack from Pottery Barn.• Hang your pots and pans. This has a nice designer look and can be done in even the smallest kitchens when hung flush against the walls. Favorite sources: Crate and Barrel; Bed, Bath and Beyond; Pottery Barn. Also check restaurant suppliers.

• Havea pantry? Paint the door! This costs very little and will instantly brighten things up.

• No island? Create one. Flea market finds or an industrial stainless one on wheels will be versatile and useful in your space.

• If cabinets do not go to the ceiling, please remove all greenery. It cooks bad, collects dust and need I say more. Just take it away! What to do: Fill in the space with crown molding that goes to the top OR purchase rope lighting and place on the top of the cabinets for a nice effect OR create a pretty vignette of pottery and artwork.

• Need new cabinets but not in the budget? Two suggestions: Have them refaced. This can be done for a fraction of the cost of new and will totally change your kitchen. OR select a couple of cabinets and put glass fronts on them. Buy some pretty, colorful dishes at HomeGoods or Pottery Barn and brighten things up instantly.

• One of my favorite tips for a bar area: Use wainscoting in an accent color to bring in some textureand a pop of color. Very inexpensive and you can do it yourself!

• New bar stools or paint or reupholster the existing ones. Source: www.grandinroad.com

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Her practical and affordable interior decorating helps clients transform a house into a beautiful home.  Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Shedding light on illuminating a home

Shedding light on illuminating a home

Need some help sorting out your lighting needs and how it all fits into your decor?  Check out these tips in my Home Inspirations column in the Fort Myers News-Press. 


Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• April 6, 2013

"How to" books have been written about the proper way to light a home.

And yet, if you are like most homeowners, you have rooms filled with lamps, sconces, ceiling lights and chandeliers. Still, it doesn't seem to be quite right.

Photo of Addie Pendant from Ballard Designs

                                                 Addie pendants from Ballard Designs

The generously sized shade of this mouth-blown glass pedant light was inspired by a vintage jar. Hang it above an island, breakfast bar or work area for  casual style.

Lighting is much more than functional. It has become a major design element in our homes. It can add the pop that you need to accent a room or it can fade into the background. Done well, lighting can totally change a room. Either way, some basic tips will help to select the type of lighting that is needed and to make it part of your decorating plan.

What every room needs:


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Downsize and live well with less

Downsize and live well with less

If you are thinking about downsizing or just want to live a simplier life, check out these tips in today's Home Inspirations column.

Wrenda Goodwyn • Home Inspirations Fort Myers News-Press • March 2, 2013


Whether it is to your dream vacation home, a condo, an apartment or maybe staying in your current home but living with less, many homeowners are freeing themselves of huge homes and possessions to live a life with less. Many find it liberating. Goodbye McMansions. There will be time to travel. Relax and not have to think about maintenance issues. Less for some, means more. But it can be overwhelming and emotional.

Unless you plan ahead.

Photo of seagrass sofa from Pottery BarnSeagrass five-piece sectional is from Pottery Barn's small spaces line.

Transform smaller spaces with a thoughtful plan

So you have decided to sell your home and have found a smaller space and want to turn it into a jewel box with everything you have always desired but could not afford in a large home.

Don't show up at your new and smaller home with all of your furniture and other possessions from your large home assuming that you can squeeze them into the smaller space. It will not work and you will be very unhappy!

It takes a lot of thoughtful consideration way before moving day.

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